by guest blogger Bobbi Peterson from Living Life Green
Teaching your kids about sustainability is vital to their survival in a post-climate change world. Knowing where to start can be tough, so check out these ideas to get going.
- Lead by Example
The most important aspect of teaching kids anything is demonstrating it. If you can live sustainably, your kids will grow up thinking it’s normal and won’t have to change their habits.
- Teach Kids to Garden
Learning how to grow plants is a vital aspect of life. Teach your kids the basics of gardening, including how to avoid pests without chemical sprays and doing companion planting.
Teach your kids about recycling by taking them to a junkyard or recycling plant, so they can see why it’s different from a landfill.
- Grow Native Plants
Using plants that are native to the area is good for the environment. It will help kids understand why invasive species cause problems.
- Teach Them Arts and Crafts
Arts and crafts might not seem related, but practicing these helps kids learn how to make things. That’s the first step toward self-reliance in a world where they can buy everything.
- Make Your Things Last
Taking good care of your items helps them last longer. It cuts down on waste and teaches kids to value things and buy fewer items.
- Do Clean Water Experiments
Kids learn better by seeing and doing things, instead of just being told about them. To that end, fun experiments can really help demonstrate complex issues, like water cleanliness.
- Teach Them to Repair Things
Part of making your things last is learning how to repair them when they break. This applies to everything from clothing to electronics, so it’s a versatile skill to learn.
- Shop Sustainably
Buy products from companies that try to make our world a little better. For those that don’t, write letters with the kids explaining why you don’t buy their products and ask them to make changes.
- Do a Compost Experiment
Composting is a very helpful aspect of gardening, but learning how it works is also important. A composting experiment teaches children how it works so they can make the most of it.
- The Difference Between Needs and Wants
Learning the difference between what you want and what you need is a fundamental value that some cultures, like the Amish, work to teach their children. It teaches them to evaluate purchases before making them, so they’re able to shop, but not frivolously.
- Plant Trees
Every Earth Day, people gather to plant trees — but there’s no reason to wait for one day. If you have a spot of land, pick a tree that’s native to your area and plant it.
- Make Your Own Paper
Making homemade paper is a fun project that teaches your kids about recycling and the process of creating something.
- Discourage Littering
Cleaning up after yourself is vital to keeping the planet clean and public spaces safe and attractive.
- Buy in Bulk
For products that don’t go bad, the more you buy at once, the lower your carbon footprint.
- Save and Eat Leftovers
Making too much food isn’t a bad thing. It just means you have dinner for tomorrow night made as well! If your kids are in school, it’s a great lunch to take.
- Eat Cheaply
You might be surprised at just how much food you can get out of a solid, well-planned budget. If you eat seasonally, and make use of foods that have a long shelf life, you’ll be able to buy in bulk, buy locally and save a lot of money.
- Respect Animals
Teaching kids to respects animals and their space from a young age is both important for the animals and to help kids function in life.
- Make a Solar Oven
A solar-powered oven is easy to make at home and it’s a fun craft for the kids. Plus, it gives you an excuse to make cupcakes or pizza.
- Hang Your Clothes to Dry
If the weather is decent, then you can cut down on your electric bill by avoiding the dryer.
- Make Less Trash
People tend to buy things that are designed to be thrown away, such as paper plates, paper towels and plastic straws. Avoid buying these items and try reusable items instead.
Both literally and figuratively — unplug electronics when they aren’t in use and designate some electronic-free time for the family.
- Shop Locally
Shopping from local vendors makes a big dent in the carbon footprint of your purchases.
- Work on Conservation
Conserving water and energy around the house is easy, although you’ll probably have to remind the kids. If you explain why they should take short showers and turn off the lights, they’ll get it eventually.
- Get Them Into Nature
Kids need to be immersed in things to really understand them. If you want them to understand why protecting the planet is important, show them what it is. Take them camping, teach them to build a fire and do whatever you can to show them what our world is made of.
Get your kids interested in sustainability early. It’ll give them the foundation they need to change the world!
Bobbi Peterson is a green living and environmental writer. She regularly posts about sustainability and simple living on her blog, Living Life Green. You can find more from Bobbi on Twitter.
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